Sequenom Reorganizes its Genetic Analysis Business, Trims Workforce

Xconomy San Diego — 

San Diego-based Sequenom said today it’s laying off 30 employees, or 12 percent of its workforce, as part of a broader cost-cutting initiative in the company’s genetic analysis business. The company, which has developed a proprietary, high-performance system for precisely analyzing genetic material, says the restructuring was necessitated by the “continuing weak outlook in 2009 for capital equipment sales, particularly in the USA.”

The company remains on schedule in developing noninvasive prenatal genetic tests for use with its genetic analysis system, and still expects to launch one such test, for Down syndrome, in June, Sequenom spokesman Ian Clements said. Luke described Sequenom’s development of the diagnostic technology in January.

Sequenom had about 250 employees before the layoffs, which are effective immediately. (Check Xconomy’s San Diego layoff tracker here for our running tally of layoffs in the local tech sector.) The firm says it also is repositioning its genetic analysis business by focusing on developing new methods and assays for translational research and patient profiling in clinical trials. Sequenom’s business, which originally focused on developing genetic analysis equipment for sale to laboratories, has been shifting to providing analytical services. Clements says the cutbacks represent more of a reallocation of available resources in a soft market than a wholesale change in Sequenom’s genetic analysis business.

The restructuring is expected to decrease Sequenom’s costs by $8 million this year, and the company says it will provide additional details regarding its cost reductions with the release of its first quarter financial results, which is set for next Thursday.